Are you a ‘Point and Shoot’ kinda person or a Deliberate Designer…lessons from photography, part 2


This was my ‘Autumn’ submission to the Love your Lens Photography group

Back in April I wrote a blog about the lessons for speaking I had learned from starting to develop my photographic skills. You can read it here.

Just recently, as I continue to learn more about wielding the camera and capturing that perfect shot I have been thinking about how this relates to presentations and speaking in public.

A number of clients have shared with me what would apparently appear to be conflicting points of view about the whole process of preparing that I will call for now Careful Crafting and Impulsive Inspiration. Neither is right or wrong. And most of us will use one or both depending on our confidence and skill level.The photography equivalent I find is Point and Shoot or Deliberate Design.

One approach to speaking, Impulsive Inspiration, is an interesting one. Another client hates sitting and prepping. For him it’s all about being spontaneous, trusting in his ability to be able to recall the best story, the musical language and the right tone. His work with me is focused on clarifying a core message, identifying a flow and a form and learning a more fluid and responsive way for rehearsing that encourages the feeling of spontaneity and creativity.

In photography sometimes you happen to be in the right place at the right time. Sometimes there is no time to set up and consider. Sometimes you have to rely on your talent and skill and take advantage of the moment. Just Pointing and Shooting is the most appropriate action to take. Here are some wonderful examples from the #liveshootlove photography group. The danger of course is that without that planning and crafting we can overcrowd the audience, complicate the message and lose the clarity.


Eric Payton took a photo of this cheeky little fella. It’s cute but without the planning, the shot loses some of its power and clarity



David Reilly demonstrates how if you have your camera at the ready and have an eye for a photo, then a Point and Shoot approach can be spectacular!

In speaking, there is a place, I believe, when we can speak from the soul as it were. When there may be little time to prep and when there is a need for us to speak now.  To do this well, there needs to be three factors in place.

Firstly, an ability to see and understand clearly the core message i.e. the nub, the gist, the one thing people must take away with them.

Secondly the knowledge and skill to break down that message into two or three chunks and link them together will take a rambling(if well meaning) off the cuff presentation into a well constructed and smooth flowing inspirational speech.

Thirdly and maybe most importantly, a belief and confidence about being able to dig deep and draw on experience, skill, knowledge of language, phraseology and story telling.

And here the magic happens…


For another of my clients preparation is key. It’s all about Careful Crafting. A self –confessed project manager, he builds in time to carefully identify what he wants to say, structure his speech, order his slides and occasionally practice out loud. His challenge, by the way, is to use that time and that approach more effectively…no point spending time structuring and ordering content that misses the point or ends up being delivered in a monotone and uninteresting way. So his work with me is focused on identifying the core message, using language and structure to focus on what the audience need to hear (rather than what he wants to say) and spending much more time saying it out loud to test the language, tone and rapport.

In photography when the time is spent getting the right settings on the camera, making sure the photographer is in the right place, checking out the light, composing the shot, the result can be the most beautiful, inspiring photos with the ability to touch people’s hearts!  Here are some examples from the Facebook Photography Group (#liveshootlove) I belong to… What I love about these photos (and well crafted presentations) is the story they tell…

Deliberate Design


Fiona West has got this picture perfect



Jane Burkinshaw who runs the Love your Lens facebook group demonstrates perfectly what a well crated photo can look like


Eric Payton has framed this cheeky little fella beautifully capturing some of Squirrel Nutkin’s personality and telling a story at the same time

In speaking, when we craft our message instead of simply listing information, when we consider our words and phrases instead of dredging meaningless and mindless jargon, when we deliberately design a shape and a structure instead of bullet pointing a set of slides…then we create something beautiful.

And I also believe this is where the magic happens…craft it right and the audience is inspired and motivated. The message resonates, is retained and can be recalled.

You would expect me as a presentation skills trainer to advocate preparation. And I do. What I value though and aim to pass this onto clients is that there is room for both Careful Crafting and Impulsive Inspiration. Just as in photography the different approaches may produce different result but they can both be magical.

If you want to know more about speaking, then call me on 07946604859 or email at  or sign up for Speech Bubbles, weekly-ish inspiration for your speaking. If you want to know more about photography, then I suggest you visit Love you Lens or sign up for the photography group #Liveshootlive as I have done.


My thanks to the photographers who kindly gave me permission to use their photos – the Point and Shoot kind and the Deliberate Design kind. I am much indebted!

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